Press Statement by the Executive Committee of Nov. 2017
November 15, 2017
NCCK General Secretary Rev. Canon Peter Karanja is flanked by Vice Chair Archbishop Dr. Timothy Ndambuki and other officials during a press conference by the EXCOM held at Jumuia Conference and Country Home in Limuru.
REPENT AND REFORM KENYA
The Executive Committee of the National Council of Churches of Kenya has met here at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru, for the last two days to transact statutory business and reflect on matters of national concern.
During this meeting, we reflected on the words recorded in Daniel 9: 5 – 6 and 18
We have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land…. Lord, in keeping with righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill.
We recognize that Kenya has over the last year or so progressively degenerated on a downward spiral which could lead to destruction and chaos. The lesson from the scriptures is that the destruction of any nation is always predicated on a widespread culture of sin and rebellion. We have therefore taken time to repent on our own behalf and that of the nation so that God may relent and restore the peace and sobriety of our nation. It is our call to all Kenyans to take time to reflect and repent, and then take the necessary remedial actions appreciating that God forgives, but it is upon us to change our ways and live right.
With this in mind, we wish to share the following message:
B. Commendation for Resilience
This Executive Committee wishes to commend all Kenyans for their resilience and patient forbearance even in the face of provocations that have pushed other nations into a state of war and anarchy. The determination by Kenyans to maintain peaceful coexistence is commendable. We urge that we all maintain this demeanour now and always.
This Executive Committee takes this moment to share a message of condolence with the Eldoret Diocese of the Catholic Church, the entire Catholic Church family, and the entire nation following the sudden demise of Bishop Cornelius Korir. He was the Chairman of the inter-religious Dialogue Reference Group of which the Council has been part, and his leadership and contribution will be missed.
We also condole with the family and residents of Nyeri County on the passing on of Governor Wahome Gakuru who passed on recently in a road accident. We in the Council have had engagements with him before he became governor, and regret the loss this nation has experienced.
C. State of the Nation
This Executive Committee is gravely concerned that Kenya is a grievously wounded nation, with long-standing social-political divisions worsening every day. The electoral process of 2017 has so far included the General Elections in August, nullification of the Presidential poll on 1st September, repeat elections on 26th October and the ongoing Supreme Court petitions. This process has revealed the glaring reality that Kenyans have been unwilling to face up to the fact that the problem in our nation is political and structural and cannot be cured through elections, however free and fair they may be.
We must be willing to candidly face our issues and agree on viable solutions to those problems.
We have spent a lot of time haggling over the side issues with the devastating result of needless deaths of Kenyans, destruction of properties, disruption of livelihoods, weakening of national organs meant to promote good governance and accountability, and an ever increasing sense of disconnect between a majority of the population and the state. The result is the situation we are witnessing where ethno-political divisions between Kenyans have been sharply defined, and the common identity as Kenyans is being shredded.
As church leaders, we wish to warn all Kenyans that this path that we have taken is dangerous. Most of the nations, in the Bible and in history, that took this path all ended up in civil war, secessions, massacres, economic collapse and associated poverty, and worst of fall, disillusionment in the people’s faith in God.
We therefore urge all Kenyans to turn away from this path. We must not sacrifice our nation at the altar of political convenience, power and dominance.
D. Observe the Rule of Law
This Executive Committee urges Kenyans to remember the instruction given in Proverbs 10: 8 – “The wise in heart accept commands, but a chattering fool comes to ruin”. As a nation, we have set for ourselves the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and the various laws as enacted through Parliament to be the guiding principles of our society.
Disregard of these laws is what leads to breakdown of society and suffering of many people. We therefore urge all Kenyans to determine to operate within the confines of the rule of law. It is indeed a reality that there are laws that we don’t agree with or which are obsolete and no longer promote the welfare of the nation. Nonetheless, there are laid down procedures and processes for amending or repealing such laws, and we should follow them as we agitate for them to be changed. We must not destroy our own country and our own lives.
In the context of the electoral process, we urge that all Kenyans patiently wait for the completion of the Supreme Court process and accept the ruling that will be made. We urge Kenyans to express their reactions to the Supreme Court ruling with sobriety and moderation and especially to protect the sanctity of life, while following constitutional and legal means to redress grievances.
E. Perception of Exclusivity
This Executive Committee reiterates the earlier stated position that the real problem afflicting Kenya is the deep seated sense of exclusion that many communities feel. This feeling was worsened by the structure of the national executive adopted in the Constitution of Kenya 2010 that entails a “winner takes all” and “loser loses everything” presidential system.
Since ethnic communities invest heavily in their political formations, they are unable to accept outcomes of presidential elections when their preferred candidates lose. Other than grieving the heavy sense of loss, the communities have to contend with subtle ridicule of their leaders by the winners, which deflates the community’s sense of dignity. Such are perceptions that will not be cured by elections but rather by a rationalisation of the manner in which national executive power is exercised.
We restate here the recommendation we made earlier that Parliament, in a bi-partisan manner, amends the constitution to provide for:
a) Restoration of the position of Leader of the Official Opposition in Parliament and creation of position of Deputy Leader of the Official Opposition. These positions would be occupied by the nominees of the political party or coalition that would obtain the second highest number of votes in a Presidential Election, or the party or coalition with the second highest number of Members of Parliament, as the law would be crafted
b) The President to appoint a Prime Minister and two Deputy Prime Ministers from the winning party or coalition as part of the Executive. The Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers will sit on the cabinet and lead government business in Parliament
Once again, we reiterate that we are not asking for a “Nusu Mkate” government but rather an expansion of the executive with the Prime Minister and Deputies appointed from the winning party or coalition at the discretion of the President.
This will not only address, to some extent, the sense of exclusion in the nation, but also enable the nation to have a functional Parliament that executes its mandate more effectively.
This Executive Committee is cognizant that the same sense of exclusivity plays out at the County level, and there is need for measures to be adopted that will facilitate county governments to be held to account.
F. Audit of the Constitution
This Executive Committee recognizes that the structure of national executive and dignity of the opposition are not the only concerns that Kenyans have that need to be resolved through a review of the constitution.
We therefore recommend that once the positions of Leader of Official Opposition and Prime Minister are established, Parliament puts in place a framework for a thorough audit of the Constitution of Kenya 2010. The audit will need to be an all-inclusive and public process, whose goal will be to identify the provisions that need to be refined so as to better serve the people of Kenya. The end result of the audit will be a referendum to pass and facilitate enactment of the amendments that may be agreed upon.
G. Enhance People-Focussed Governance
This Executive Committee takes note that Corruption, Insecurity and Food Insecurity continue to be the issues of major concern to Kenyans. It is our conviction that corruption will be eradicated as more and more Kenyans get involved and take an interest in the governance of our public resources from the grassroots to the national level. We as the people must hold our leaders to account and demand good governance at all levels.
Security agencies must also be put under pressure to ensure the safety of all Kenyans. Committing crime in Kenya must be made a very expensive affair, regardless of the social-political standing of the person or persons who commits the crime.
On their part, we urge county governments to take food security as a major business. Being the administration closest to the people, county governments are best placed to educate and support Kenyans to adopt appropriate farming and food processing, preservation and storage technologies so as to safeguard their future and economic wellbeing. A county government that appeals for relief food should in essence be ashamed to the point of resigning for failing its people.
H. Resolve the Crisis at Laikipia and Samburu Counties
This Executive Committee expresses deep concern over the crisis unfolding in Laikipia and Samburu counties. We note that the herders are deeply offended by the action of the security forces that resulted in the killing of hundreds of heads of cattle, occasioning a destruction of their livelihoods. The potential of retaliatory attacks that could lead to loss of life and displacement of people looms large.
We have considered this matter and strongly urge farmers and herders in Laikipia and Samburu counties to respect private property, human life, and social order. We also urge the political leaders and county authorities to promote consultation and dialogue towards a lasting solution to this perennial problem.
On its part, we urge the national government to consider compensation for the victims so that they re-establish their livelihoods.
Further, we challenge the Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) to speedily investigate this incident and others where police have claimed that thugs were using people or livestock as shields whenever fatalities occur during security operations.
We conclude by calling on all Kenyans to take to heart the exhortation of 1 Thessalonians 4:11 – “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody”. We must not allow politics to divide us, and must deal with each other honestly and authentically.
We take this early chance to wish all Kenyans and our visitors a Peaceful, Joyful and Blessed Christmas and God-filled New Year 2018.
May God bless Kenya now and forever more.
Signed on this 15th day of November 2017 at Jumuia Conference and Country Home, Limuru.
Rev Canon Rosemary Mbogoh
Rev Canon Peter Karanja